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Simply Speaking: Property taxes

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By the time this piece is published, the Ellis County Commissioner’s Court, consisting of the “Road Commissioners” from Precincts 1, 2, 3, and 4, plus the County Judge will have voted on whether to raise your and my county property taxes once again.

This time the proposed increase will increase county taxes by a little more than 5 percent. There was a time (during the Cornelius Court a few years ago) when an increase of twenty-something percent was attempted, but enough citizen-signatures were collected on a petition to allow taxpayers to vote on the matter…and vote they did, rejecting the tax-hike by overwhelming numbers.

We cannot go that route this time but, rest assured, taxpayers feel the same way now as they did then, feel it intellectually, AND in the pocketbook. Times are harder now and may well get much worse, according to many forecasts.

Incidentally, Commissioner Precincts 1 and 3 are on the Primary and General Election ballots in March and November 2012. We may have a need to remember how those commissioners voted Monday, 9/26/11, come March and November. The remaining places on the court will be on the 2014 ballots.

Unfortunately, many Ellis County taxpayers cannot tune-in enough to participate in the taxing process before it comes time to pay up. It’s not their fault. For one thing, if taxpayers are paying on a mortgage, the taxes attached there-onto are not clearly delineated. 

The whole bill is generally thought of as simply “the house payment.” Also, the court is reluctant to publicize their tax-increase proposals very highly…and the law permits such (this probably needs addressing in the state legislature, for all taxpayers need to know far in advance, when taxing entities are proposing to raise their taxes).

May I insert a rumor just now? I think it may be related to the tax issue. It has come to my attention that the sheriff’s department has an airplane (do they really have one?). An airplane is an expensive thing to have and maintain, not to mention pilots make more money than do regular deputies. Maybe some other county has an aircraft and, apparently, in some people’s eyes, that is the only criteria needed for getting whatever some other county has, but I’ll take a regular old ground investigation anytime, over having a plane and its upkeep alongside a tax increase…

What are we doing with a county airplane, anyway? Of course we know government unattended by “We the People” will grow and grow, obtaining all kinds of “play-pretties,” thus becoming costlier and costlier. Is this not happening before our very eyes?

It is high time “We the People” got into the thick of government closest to us, for the closest-to-the-people government is supposed to be the best, and as good as it can get…if we pay proper attention.

One more important and critical point in all of this: our local elected county government is composed of 100 percent Republican-elected officials (save for a lone justice of the peace and one constable). Those officials ran with an “R” beside their name on the ballot. That “R” has implications, if the candidate will pay attention, even if they do not. 

Clearly stated in the latest (2010) Texas State Republican Party Platform, under “Principles,” Number 3 is: “Limiting the expanse of Government Power.” Under “Strengthening The Economy” and “Government Spending,” the top item, “Fiscal Responsibility” clearly states, “We urge state and federal legislators to reduce spending. We also support a ‘cap’ on government spending at all levels, with adjustments based only on inflation and population change.

In order that officials do not use the “inflation and population change” as a loophole, “We the People” must be the watchman on the wall to insist Republican-elected officials (at least) know what the platform on which they ran says. It would be nicer-still if they would listen to the people they are supposed to represent.

May God bless.

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